Judge rejects AFN involvement in Miller write-in lawsuit

A federal judge Tuesday turned down the request of the Alaska Federation of Natives to intervene in the lawsuit filed by Senate candidate Joe Miller challenging the method used by the state to count write-in ballots.

The AFN, the state's largest Native organization, wanted to join the state's side in arguing that the Division of Elections was correct in counting slight variants of Lisa Murkowski's name as proper write-in votes. Miller said that only precise spelling should do.

In his two-sentence order, issued from his chambers, U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline rejected the AFN's bid, which was filed Monday

"The State of Alaska is responsible for and fully capable of representing the interests of all its citizens," Beistline said.

Earlier Tuesday, Beistline declined a request by the state to schedule oral arguments in the case on Friday. He said he had yet to determine that arguments were even needed.

The state is seeking dismissal of the case on the basis that federal court is the wrong jurisdiction to hear Miller's complaints that a state agency violated state law. It says the matter should have been filed in state state Superior Court.